Created By: KJMackley on April 11, 2011 Last Edited By: KJMackley on July 12, 2011

The "I Love You" Stigma

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Really surprised we don't have this yet.

There is a danger in using the term "Love" when directed towards a person who is not your relative (and sometimes even then). When done properly, it ends up as a Relationship Upgrade when the feeling is reciprocated. Other times, a couple is already in an official relationship they are scared of using any terms beyond "Like" or "Care for" as psuedonyms.

In some instances, reaching the "I Love You" place is seen as point of no return, or at least an indication of a long term relationship. Ironically, sometimes declaring your love for someone ends up as a Moment Killer, not necessarily because the feelings aren't reciprocated but because the other person isn't ready for that commitment.

In a contrast, the Casanova Wannabe tends to use this term so often that it completely loses meaning with them.

Compare the Love Confession.

  • Brought up in The Giver, where the society they live in is an obsessive Utopia that regulates everything from family units to emotions to painful memories, and everything must be kept to a strictly melancholy norm. While they allow a degree of personal freedom and enjoyment, any emotion above caring for a friend is forbidden. The main character asks his parents if they love him, and they respond with the standard "Love is an innappropriate term..."
  • An early episode of Scrubs had Turk generally grumpy, especially towards Carla, and there wasn't any real excuse for it. Carla, expecting him to break up with her, eventually just demanded he say what he wants to say and get it over with. Turk marches up to her, tells her how annoying he finds her then says "I love you, I want to spend every annoying minute with you." This was a great surprise to Carla, who responded in kind. The following episode was actually about a degree of fall-out with them expressing their love for each other, as Carla started panicking about where this relationship was going.
    • Dr. Cox started seeing his ex-wife Jordan on a regular basis in a Friends with Benefits sort of way, eventually having a family together despite not being married. They acted on the idea they were embracing a long-term non-committal relationship, but by the end Dr. Cox flat out stated that they did love each other and was tired of pretending they didn't.
  • Drake & Josh had Josh having a nice moment with his girlfriend Mindy, and at a goodnight kiss at the door Mindy told him "I love you." Josh was flumoxed and awkwardly hurried her away, and after an episode of misunderstandings and mind games they had a more honest conversation about the ordeal. Josh said he wasn't sure what loving someone actually meant and Mindy admitted to feeling weird after saying it. They agreed to be Just Friends for a time so they can better understand their feelings, and they get back together in the Grand Finale.
  • In The Big Bang Theory Leonard and Penny had a nice little moment in bed where Penny quoted The Empire Strikes Back and knew the reference, which prompted Leonard to say he loved her. Penny's response was a near catatonic blank stare before saying "Thank You?" The next several days was awkward until Leonard agreed to let the issue go cause, as he said "It's understandable we're in different places, I've been in this relationship two years longer than you have." By the end Penny decided to end the relationship because she didn't want Leonard longing for her reciprocation when she didn't know when/if that would happen.
Community Feedback Replies: 6
  • April 12, 2011
    Overlaps with Love You And Everybody.
    • On That70s Show, Eric answers Donna's "I love you" with "I love cake".
  • April 12, 2011
    Related to The Four Loves
  • April 12, 2011
    Also there is Hey Arnold where Arnold is trying to attract Lila and get upgraded from an "I like you" to an "I 'like you' like you." Still not quite using the term, but the implications behind it are the same.
  • April 12, 2011
    See this previous YKTTW.
  • July 12, 2011
    I don't know, I think this is a solid trope despite a lack of interest. If nobody objects I plan on launching in a few days.
  • July 12, 2011
    Yeah, I think it looks pretty good. Could use more examples, but that's what Wiki Magic is for.